The rivalry between Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost yielded thrilling duels in Formula One. Some of them lasted until the very moment both drivers crossed the finish line.
The official Ayrton Senna website found the five smallest time differences between the drivers throughout the nine seasons both of them competed together in the main category in worldwide motor sports. Senna finished ahead of the Frenchman in all those instances.
Despite leading from start to finish, Ayrton Senna’s first win as a McLaren driver was anything but easy. It was his second race in the 1988 season, and Senna crossed the finish line just 2s334 ahead of the Frenchman.
As the main contenders for the 1990 title, Senna and Prost fought for second place at Estoril, while Ferrari’s Nigel Mansell ended up the winner. Ayrton finished the race 1s381 ahead of the Frenchman, increasing his lead in the standings from 16 to 18 points, just three races before the end of the tournament: Spain, Japan and Australia.
In 1989, Ayrton Senna won the Belgian GP for the third time in his career. His main rival during the race was Prost, but Ayrton was able to hold on to the lead from start to finish, crossing the finish line 1s304 ahead of his teammate.
The 1991 title was decided between Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell. But, during the Italian GP, the Brazilian was forced to protect his second place from Prost’s attacks, finishing the race just 0s567 ahead of his McLaren. The top spot went to Mansell’s Williams, but Ayrton was still 18 points ahead in the standings and clinched his third world title in Japan, three races after the one at Monza.
The smallest time difference between Senna and Prost at the finish line took place at Hungaroring, in the 1988 season: the Brazilian was just 0s529 faster than his rival. The win was instrumental in Senna’s season, since after the race, both drivers were tied for first place, with 66 points each. Ayrton led all 76 laps in Hungary, but Prost was able to overtake Senna, who immediately recovered, in a maneuver similar to the historic duel fought between Senna and Nelson Piquet, two years earlier, on the same corner.
Check out other F1 races in which the time difference between Senna and Prost was smaller than 10 seconds.
– Belgiu 1990 – 3s550 – Senna p1; Prost p2
– Canada 1988 -5s934 – Senna p1; Prost p2
– Italy 1990 – 6s054 – Senna p1; Prost p2
– Mexico 1988 – 7s104 – Prost p1; Senna p2
– France 1988 – 7s104 – Prost p1; Senna p2
– Monaco 1984 – 7s446 – Prost p1; Senna p2
– Australia 1993 – 9s259 – Senna p1 e Prost p2